CELS Scientists & Collaborators are Getting Closer to Preventing Stomach Cancer

Media Contact: Todd McLeish, 401-874-7892

De Groot labResearchers from the University of Rhode Island are championing a recent breakthrough in the laboratory with hopes it could lead to a vaccine against the pathogen responsible for stomach cancer and to therapeutics for inflammatory diseases.

The results were published Friday in the journal PLOS ONE in an article titled, “Human Immune Response to H. pylori HLA Class II Epitopes Identified by Immunoinformatic Methods.” This is the first time that human immune responses to the H. pylori pathogen have been described in such detail, and the researchers believe that a vaccine against the pathogen is within reach.

Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori, is a bacterium that infects the stomach of half of the human population, leading to chronic gastric inflammation in all of those infected while also causing other adverse health effects. It is the most common cause of peptic ulcers, and its persistence in the stomach also gradually promotes gastric cancer development.

Recently, H. pylori infection has also been found to have some beneficial effects. It has been linked to protection against unrestrained inflammation in conditions such as asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, esophageal reflux and esophageal adenocarcinoma.

“The dual personality of H. pylori is a novel, unexpected finding,” said URI Assistant Research Professor Lenny Moise. Moise is one of the leaders on the project, working alongside URI Research Professor Annie De Groot and Brown Alpert Medical School Professor Steven Moss.

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